Lately there’s been a lot of buzz about gut bacteria, evidenced by the growing selection of probiotics available at Whole Foods and the rising popularity of Activia yogurt, which promises to bring balance to your gut bacteria. Research on gut bacteria is still in its infancy, but researchers are discovering that diversity in gut bacteria could be linked to metabolic health. Gut bacteria could impact our health in another surprising way – scientists recently discovered that the health of four types of gut bacteria could influence children’s risk of developing asthma.–>
Researchers took samples of gut bacteria from 319 babies and discovered that children with low levels of four types of bacteria had a higher likelihood of developing asthma by age 3. Scientists believe that these four microbes play an important role in influencing the development of our immune system. It makes sense then that these bacteria would also have an impact on the development of asthma since “asthma is really an immune allergic-type reaction in the lungs,” said Brett Finlay, microbiologist at the University of British Colombia and member of the research team.
The researchers checked their theory about the relationship between gut bacteria and the development of asthma by running tests on mice bred to have a condition similar to asthma in humans. Scientists gave these mice the four missing types of bacteria and noticed a reduction in lung inflammation, which is a risk factor in the development of asthma. Doctors may one day be able to test babies to see if they’re missing these important microbes, and restore them if needed.